In Italy there’s a city called Parma famous for
cheese and thin slices of ham I feel embarrassed
mentioning in a Jewish poem.
Full disclosure: I will not be eating the ham
let’s say for Jewish reasons and also because
ever since that pamphlet about vivisection
in 1986, I’m the least likely human to cook
a Kid in anything, let alone its mother’s milk.
We’re going to Parma this summer
and other nearby places where Jews were once
not welcome and where, if you have a mouth
and a stomach, you’re going to do just fine.
Addie, my wife, who I love so much it couldn’t
possibly be contained within a single poem,
asked if I would consider eating one of the slices,
just to have the experience, because, when are
we going to be in the neighborhood again and,
what happens when we die and we haven’t
done all the things there are to do?
I pause longer than my thirty six years of
vegetarianism want me to. I’m imagining
what the best of the best of these thin slices
might taste like before I see the eyes of the
creatures they were carved from.
Probably not I tell her. I learned from
Sean Connery that one should never say
never but it’s a really strong probably not.
There are so many things I’ve never done
that I think I would never do. I’d list them
but they’re my secrets. For now.
I’m going to Parma this summer.
It’s where a certain cheese was invented.
The kids will be alright.